Here's an excellent guest post by Brandon Smith entitled The Essential Rules of Liberty. I've picked out highlights here, but the essay is posted in its entirety on Zero Hedge. I highly recommend reading this.
I want to emphasize these are just excerpts from the whole article. Please go read the original to get the full impact!
Rule #1: Never Take Anything For Granted
A lot of people today seem to have serious issues with expectation and assumption; what we in the alternative media often refer to as “normalcy bias”. We have grown used to the idea of abundance and relative safety. So much so, that we fail to notice when our abundance and safety begin to disappear. We assume that the condition of the world today will be the condition of the world tomorrow, and for all time. In the U.S., we have even come to expect not only that our prosperity and our freedom are inevitable, but that they will also increase exponentially with each passing generation.
Rule #2: Educate Yourself
Never become a useful idiot, or a waste of oxygen. Being a part of the herd is nothing to be proud of. Strive for knowledge, and thirst for the truth every moment of every day. Many of the things we deem “important” in modern society are in the grand scheme hollow attempts to fill our lives with distraction, only wasting time until we finally bite the dust filled with regret.
Rule #3: Don’t Be A Pansy
Liberty is not for the faint of heart. Emotional courage is paramount to freedom, and it can be expressed to incredible effect by even the most unlikely heroes. I’ve seen children with more courage and tenacity than some full grown men.
Rule #4: Stop Waiting For Others To Tell You What To Do
Independent people not only consider and implement the solutions of others, they also work on their own. Complaints abound lately in the Liberty Movement;
“When is someone going to do something!? What are YOU going to do about our predicament!?”
This is the question of a slave, not a free man.
Rule #5: Cast Off What Is Unnecessary, Keep What Is Effective
Yes, I stole this rule from Bruce Lee, but it is just as applicable to social movements and economic stability as it is to the martial arts. Invasive debt creation, for instance, is a tool for subversion, and no people forced to bear the burden of liabilities they can never repay is free. Therefore, exorbitant debt must be avoided, or cast off completely.
Rule #6: Ignore Establishment Labels
Tactical name calling is only effective if we actually care what other people think of us. Labels like “homegrown terrorist”, “extremist”, “doomer”, or “conspiracy theorist”, are designed to shame people into self censorship. That is to say, they pigeonhole movements and their participants into categories of public shame, causing said movements to fear social reprisal. They are also meant to forcefully assign “outsider” or “fringe” status to particular political positions in order to marginalize and weaken the resolve of those who hold them. Never mind that almost every powerful and honorable cultural movement in history once started out as “fringe”.
Rule #7: Cynicism Is The Path To Defeat
It is good to be critical, but not to the point of nihilism. America’s past is riddled with mistakes, bad judgments, horrible crimes, and downright stupidity; that doesn’t mean that the principles on which this country was founded are any less vital. We hear often from cynics that humanity has become too stupid and complacent to do what is right. However, stupidity and complacency are not inherent qualities. That’s an elitist fantasy with no basis in fact. Stupidity and complacency are learned behaviors, and they can be unlearned. What IS inherent is our ability to choose what path we will take.
Rule #8: True Authority Is Derived From Respect That Is Earned, Not Bought, Or Taken
A corrupt politician is just a criminal conman in a nice suit. A law enforcement officer who refuses to follow Constitutional Law is just a petty little tyrant in a black uniform. An economist who knowingly skews data to fit his own political bias or to serve the political biases of men above him is just a liar or an inept buffoon with an embossed piece of paper from an expensive university. A lab scientist or doctor who flubs experimentation to support the interests of the corporate world rather than the needs of the public is just a quack in a white coat. All too often, though, we find ourselves taking these cretins seriously all because they talk the talk and wear the costume. They are just people, and if they cannot do their jobs honestly, then they are useless people, who deserve our disdain, not our respect. We should never allow such men to wield positions of authority over us.
Rule #9: Take It Personally
When someone tries to steal from you, hurt you, or enslave you, unless you are some kind of nut, you take it pretty personally, right? Why should it be any different when a government commits the same grievances? Americans should be furious over the destruction of their economy, their currency, their infrastructure, and their Constitutional freedoms!
Rule #10: You Are The First And Last Line Of Defense
Like it our not, this is our job. We have inherited a country on the verge of disaster, and we are tasked with cleaning it up, otherwise, there will be little left to pass on. We do not get to bask in illusory prosperity for the rest of our days. We do not get to feed off the entitlement program trough until we are fat and contented. We are not going to retain our rights without blood, sweat, and tears. We will not be building magical floating cities in the clouds or skyscrapers on Mars. We will NOT be remembered fondly as members of some fantastical “golden era”.
We could fall to our knees and lament with despair, overcome with woe at our unbearable lot. But, this would be in violation of rule #3, and nobody wants to be a sobbing pansy. On the contrary, every “bad luck generation” is only so if they refuse to see the great fortune at their fingertips; if they refuse to seize the moment and conquer the giants of their day. The greater the hardship, the greater the enemy, the greater the heroes. We are faced with possibly the most unrelenting antagonists and the most treacherous obstacles in recent memory, or even distant memory. In the same spark of confrontation, we are also presented with unparalleled opportunity to change the course of the world forever. Whether or not we succeed, is entirely up to us.